Qatar Airways’ operating profit tripled and its net profit quadrupled in the fiscal year ending in March 2016 on the back of revenues that rose 4.3 per cent to reach QR35.6bn ($9.77bn).

The airline’s operating profit reached QR3bn while net profit quadrupled to QR1.6bn, from QR374m in the previous fiscal year.

Top Gulf airlines revenue and profits (latest fiscal year), $m
  Revenue Net profit
Emirates 25,295 1,933
Etihad Airways 9,020 103
Qatar Airways 9,774 439
Source: Airlines

The net profit was realised in part due to a 1.5 per cent reduction in expenses.

The company reported that the group’s fuel bill decreased by 28 percent, or about QR3bn, compared to the previous fiscal year.

Jet fuel prices, which account for between 30 and 50 per cent of an airline’s operating expense, have declined as a result of lower oil prices.

Qatar Airways also reported increasing its cash and bank balance as of March 2016 to QR12bn from the previous balance of QR5.5bn, in spite of “significant growth in operations and adverse movement in foreign currency exchange.”

The airline added 13 new destinations in the 12 months ending 31 March, bringing its overall network to 150 destinations.  It also expanded its fleet to reach 186 aircraft, which now includes 29 Boeing 787s.

The airline plans to take in 20 new aircraft in fiscal year 2017.

It also recently received bids for the contract to build a new car park at Hamad International airport on the outskirts of Doha.

“It was the best year yet for Qatar Airways Group,” CEO Akbar al-Baker said in a statement.

It is the first year that the firm released its financial statement, in a move that is understood to strengthen its stance against allegations it has received unfair subsidies from the government.

Qatar Airways, along with Dubai’s Emirates and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways, have been fighting the US’ Big Three airlines – Delta, American and United – in an Open Skies dispute.

It is understood that the US government has decided to reject the request of the US Big Three to open consultative talks with the two Gulf states to renegotiate certain terms of the Open Skies agreement and while doing so limit the Gulf airlines’ expansion into the US market due to allegations that they have received unfair subsidies in violation of the bilateral aviation agreement.